Aussie Legends, by Tom Baddley

The story of Australia is full of wondrous facts,
Of men and women, young and old, and their amazing acts.
But there’s one name that seems to stir opinions good and bad
Ned Kelly – wild bushranger – was he marvellous or mad?

Australia’s non-indigenous history is very short, but is peopled (and horsed) by some memorable characters. Before books were widely available and affordable, many stories were circulated by oral storytellers. Rhyme was also used by some of our most famous storytellers like Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson to capture the stories of Australia. And Tom Baddeley has chosen rhyme to tell the stories of six Australian legends. Each story begins with a map showing where the legend lived and is accompanied by full page illustrations. Aussie Legends is a sturdy hardback, with a green and gold cover.

History is fascinating, but it’s not always accessible to younger children. Tom Baddeley has combined history with poetry to bring stories to new generations of children. These stories are teasers, tasters. The stories are an introduction to non-indigenous history and will hopefully inspire further reading, further curiosity about other times and other people. The illustrations show the times as well as the legends. Stories like those of Phar Lap and Don Bradman also reflect the nationalism and pride Australians felt for their heroes. Others, like the story of Ned Kelly, talk about the continued challenge of deciding whether Ned was hero or villain. Recommended for primary readers.

Aussie Legends

Aussie Legends, Tom Baddeley ill Tracey Gibbs
Fremantle Press 2009
ISBN: 9781921361609

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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